Kent Invicta League
Meridian Sports and Social Club, Charlton
Admission and programme: Nil
Match Rating: N/A
Arriving a couple of hours early for my 3pm kick-off at Charlton Athletic, I decided to cross Charlton village to take in the first half of this game kicking off at 2pm in the Kent Invicta League, as it would only take about 10 minutes to walk/jog mostly downhill between the two grounds.
I visited the Meridian Sports and Social Club just over a year ago, when tenants Bridon Ropes were the home team, and no improvements have been made to the ground since then - if anything, it had a scruffier appearance today, with a considerable amount of rubble and rubbish bags scattered around. No programmes seemed to have been produced today.
Meridian VP have struggled again this season, having finished second bottom last season. They went into this game third bottom, having played at least three games more than those teams around them. They have lost twelve of their seventeen games so far, scoring eleven points. There is no obvious danger of relegation though, with only one team due to be relegated and Crockenhill are currently pointless, having conceded a whopping 83 goals in thirteen games. Sutton Athletic are having their customary solid season, and went into this game in fourth place, with 24 points from their thirteen games played, but ten points adrift of second placed Lydd and 15 adrift of leaders Holland and Blair.
On an overcast and breezy afternoon, the game was surprisingly even during the first half I watched, with Meridian doing plenty of attacking and having a couple of good chances to score. However, a rare attack by the visitors led to them opening the scoring on 22 minutes, Jack Hewlett running on to the ball inside the area before taking a touch and coolly slotting the ball past the keeper. On 32 minutes they thought they had doubled their advantage when a lovely cross from the left was headed home from close range, but the goal was ruled out for offside. The game became more and more of a midfield battle, and as the game kicked off a couple of minutes late and was then delayed by a couple of minor injuries, I had to leave a couple of minutes before the interval.
Just as I started to walk across Charlton Park, I heard cheers suggesting a goal had been scored - indeed that was the case, as Chris McGinty scored Sutton's second on the stroke of half time. They added a further two goals in the second half, Grant Brown scoring on 55 minutes and Hewlett scoring his second of the game, this time from the penalty spot, on 80 minutes, to complete a comprehensive away win which lifted Sutton to third place in the table.